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Enzo Mari Alessi Ecolo

Ecolo ca. 1992-1995

Enzo Mari IT

Alessi IT


donation from the manufacturer and the designer, 1996

In 1974 already Enzo Mari saw the potential of DIY design when he gave readers instructions in his book Autoprogettazione about how to achieve simple furniture designs. In 1995, in association with Alessi, he presented the Ecolo project. He put together a manual with suggestions on how to transform plastic washing­-­up liquid bottles into vases. He himself also cut up a series of bottles into vases, a number of which he then signed. The client was therefore given a choice: would they buy Mari’s DIY instructions or a vase that had already been transformed, and which may have been signed by Mari? These choices came with different price tags. In this way, Mari not only drew attention to the importance of recycling early in the history of design already, but also stimulated reflection on the status of design. Didn’t design need to be democratized? Was a self-made vase worth less than one cut out by Mari? Where does ‘open-source design’ end and imitation begin?


Renny Ramakers, Less + More: Droog Design in context, 010, Rotterdam, 2002, p. 130.